Curative


ginger 

“Ginger, will you stop changing the subject?” Darrell says, again. He wants to start a family, he wants to have a baby. A baby girl. In Ginger, this produces a resentful fear. Go ahead, she’s thinking, you want a baby, go right ahead and have a fucking baby.

What she says is “Remember that stream in Kennewick? That hike and the cold water, the pebbles laid in shallow rippled water? I want to go back, paint it or something.” She’s looking at her toenails, chipped apricot polish, the scar on her heel. From walking barefoot in cold water, sharp wound not bleeding, too cold until later and then she’s surprised to find blood and the blood is warm. It is warm.

Darrell is still thinking about his baby girl, about warm bottles and the inside of his wrist, where he sees his pulse counting out the moments of his new baby’s life. “Wake up, small daughter, wake up,” he says with the bottle in his hand and her foggy blue eyes turning toward him.

“I’m going for a run,” says Ginger and she leaves. An act of attrition, running, for something. No babies for Ginger, thank you very much. She’s thinking about this curious combination of ingredients – Darrell’s honey sweet warm baby craving, his fear of cold, so odd, so feminine, like he’s sucking the female out of her body and transfusing it into his own, with his little love handles, and his ass that is always cold. She’s wanting to wear a hat, the Siberian kind with the wooly ear flaps that pull down when you don’t want to listen. Darrell and Ginger have always been such a dear couple, she is thinking, and inside she is turning into a badger prowling at night with red eyes, looking for baby chicks and tender little mice with bones to crunch. She is having pre-partum depression. She just doesn’t like Darrell. She’s insane. There is blood on her heel, still, and it keeps running out and running away.

Darrell is a likeable guy, a man’s man, or a woman’s man, a sympathetic listener, a “keeper”. Darrell is all the advice Ginger’s ever been given. Darrell is essential oil of good reproductive partner and he is ready to go, on schedule and with no distressing secrets. No secrets at all. This cannot possibly be true, of course. If they reproduce, Ginger will be the cold distant wife and mother and Darrell will be the hapless good-natured father with the perplexed doglike eyebrows looking for a way to understand his baby girl’s mom.

But what about Ginger’s cold and bleeding feet? What about the stream and the pebbles and the high arching sky? What about that horse, that roan off there in that distant meadow, behind that wooden fence? What if she were to walk there with her bleeding feet until she is standing at the fence and climbing that post and settling on that broad warm back and riding away farther and farther until Darrell is a scratch on an old phonograph and he’s finally free to have a baby, with a girl named Cherie, and that’s not such a bad thing, is it?

Ginger warms the belly, reduces inflammation, increases clarity of thought and circulates the blood. Ginger is not to be taken lightly, particularly by those who bleed easily, have dark circles under their eyes, or by those who wish to sleep dreamlessly throughout the night.

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